” Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Gustav Jung

Do you find yourself being the one that always changes the toilet paper roll?  Have you grabbed the sugar jar only to discover it needed to be refilled?  Have you used the bathroom in the middle of the night and found yourself sunken in the toilet bowl because someone didn’t lower the seat? Are you the one who has to replace the paper towel roll because there are only 2 sheets left? I know your pain because It seems like every time I go to use something, I need to replace, restock, or replenish it. It’s annoying. NO, it’s irritating!!! Living with others is not always easy, it requires compromise and patience. It also requires that we open up the windows of our mind, and toss out our expectations of how we’d like things to be, and accept them as they are. When living with others, we have to learn NOT to sweat the small stuff. If not, we’ll find ourselves in a constant state of discord and irritability. To live in harmony, we must be willing to overlook some irritants in lieu of peace. So for this week’s blog, let’s talk SHIP about things that bother us….our IRRITATIONS!!!

What is Irritation? Irritation is the state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or slightly angry. We’ve all experienced it. We’ve all encountered people and/or things that have irritated us. But, it is how we respond to these annoying things and irritating people that matter. Tonight as I prepared to wash the dinner dishes, I noticed the dish-washing liquid was below the pump level and needed to be refilled. Since the dishes had been washed throughout the day, I felt the former dishwashers should have recognized the low level of detergent and refilled it.  I Immediately became irritated. My first thought was to leave it empty and just use the big bottle to complete my task…and I did!!  Well sort of. As I continued to clean the kitchen I mentally began to take my own inventory.   I wondered why I was irritated about such a small thing. I pondered why the thought that I was the only one that replenished, re-filled, and restored items around the house, even popped in my head. I knew it wasn’t true. Yet, as I continued to mull over why I was irritated, I concluded it was nothing more than a petty perception that I had unnecessarily conjured in my mind.

People’s perceptions, including those that we live with, may differ from ours. Some people may believe that the toilet paper doesn’t need to be changed cause it still has 2 sheets remaining on the roll. Or the dishwashing liquid still has some liquid remaining even if you have to angle the pump to dispense it. As I continued to think about why I had become irritated, I realized that I was imposing my thoughts of how things should be on others. Thus causing my own irritation. I also realized that irritating behavior is just that irritating behavior and that there is no personal intent to annoy me or to piss me off. Leaving the toilet seat up, not re-filling the dishwashing liquid, or re-filling the toilet paper roll aren’t conspiracies to annoy me, they are just irritating behaviors.

When I finished cleaning up the kitchen, I re-filled the dishwashing canister and reflected on my thoughts. I realized that irritants are actually tools that can make us grow and give insight into ourselves and that the ability to manage conflict, even IRRITATIONS is an essential relationSHIP skill. Even though it is impossible for us to eliminate all of the irritating behaviors that we may experience, we can control them through our actions-how we respond to them. Don’t get bent out of shape or start a fight over something that may be annoying or irritating because it’s not worth it. Just pick up the clothes, lower the toilet seat, or refill the dishwashing canister because even though it’s NOT personal, it may be the price of peace. So pick and choose your battles wisely and be mindful you too may have some irritating behaviors that may serve as an IRRITATION to others. Be kind and loving always!!!

SHIP TALK: Do you know your irritants? How do you respond when you encounter or experience them?

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